The statistics are dire. Nearly one-third of U.S. high school students drop out. And less than one-third of eighth-graders are up to where they should be in reading and math. Kids who live in urban areas and those who come from low-income families are at greater risk of bad grades and quitting school, which means they're far less likely to develop the basic thinking-and-doing skills they need to get by in the world. Where are the teachers in this equation? A lot of them are dropping out too. The pay is so low in so many areas that nearly half of them quit within five years of starting. And many of the teachers who've been at it a long time are due to retire within a few years. It's clear that our education system must change. American Teacher, which has its world premiere Tuesday as part of the San Francisco International Film Festival, is a feature-length documentary that tells the stories of a few people closest to the issue.
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